ENERGY EFFICIENT WINDOWS IN SPAIN
It’s a scientific fact that heat is attracted to cold. In winter months, indoor heating moves toward and escapes through windows to the outdoors, while in the summertime, the outside heat flows into your home through these same windows. Many Hunter Douglas window fashions as energy efficient windows help insulate homes; helping reduce energy consumption, save on heating and cooling costs, and creating a more comfortable room setting.
How does window treatments affect the temperature in our houses?
Window treatments help to control solar heat (heat generated from the sun) by allowing it into your home in the winter and minimizing the amount that comes in during the summer. The warmth provided by the sun, its solar energy, might be desirable during the winter to help heat your home, yet it can make a room overly hot and uncomfortable while driving up air conditioning costs in the summer.
Window treatments enhance daylighting (the use of natural light) by diffusing and dispersing sunlight deep into a room, reducing your need for electrical lighting. Daylighting is the practice of lighting rooms with natural light rather than generating illumination from electricity.
Just as sunscreen protects our skin from the sun’s damaging ultraviolet (UV) rays, window treatments protect our room interiors and add to the lifespan of valuable possessions.
Consequences of installing energy-efficient windows
When installing over double-glazed glass windows, they could filter out at least 75% of the sun’s harmful UV rays. But if you are looking for the top glazing for energy-efficient windows, triple glazing is the best, if you can afford it, for long-term energy-saving, and necessary to achieve an ‘A’ rating. Try also for windows that have an inert gas (argon, krypton or xenon) sealed between the panes.
The gas minimizes the conduction of heat back out of the building, better than air does; xenon is the most effective, but argon is cheapest. Ideally, the gap between the panes should be 16mm or more if they contain no gas but can be less if they are filled with gas. It goes without saying that you should ensure that the seals are perfect! Sometimes, windows could leak air into these gaps; you can tell because of condensation forms inside the windows.
Also, it is possible to specify windows made with up to 33 percent of recycled glass. Windows’ size, position, and shading can be used to optimize solar gain, while the composition and coating on each face of the glazing can be manipulated to optimize the greenhouse effect. Windows admit heat and daylight differently at different times of the year and day. This partly depends on the angle of incidence: the angle at which the sunlight strikes the surface of the glass.
Finally, frames for energy-efficient windows should ideally be made of sustainably-sourced timber, preferably hardwood or treated softwood. Try to avoid PVC because of its inflexibility, liability to crack and the risk of dioxin pollution with attendant health risks when it is sent to landfill if it is not recycled at the end of its life (how can you know what will happen?). Basic aluminum or other metal frames are definitely to be avoided because the metal will conduct heat out of the building.
Window placement in Spain
As a general rule in Andalucia they will be shaded to avoid overheating in the summer. Exceptions might be triple glazed argon filled e-coated windows. Normally this is not necessary because the climate is suitable for shaded outside living so we are looking for large shaded south facing windows that integrate the outside and the inside space. When they are closed in the winter the inside space still feels connected to the outside space.
In Northern climates where you want to maximise solar heat gain you may want to expose the south facing windows.North facing windows, in the northern hemisphere, are exposed to significantly less solar radiation.
Do you have a project in mind? In Vreim we offer sustainable urban development. Get in touch to obtain further information.